The effects of performance measurement in the form of research evaluation on academic professionalidentity - Case: Aalto University School of Business

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School of Business | Master's thesis
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This study investigates the professional identity of university scholars in the context of Aalto University School of Business, as they are seen to be increasingly exposed to corporate ideals and been subjected to increased performance measurement, especially in the form of research evaluation in their work environment. Previous research suggest that in recent years, the importance of accounting, especially performance measurement, has increased dramatically in universities as the university sector adopts more business-like arrangements in its management in response to recent external changes in their economic environment. Recent studies have also recognized a significant shift in the performance measurement of university scholars, namely, a tendency to rely increasingly on official listings of high-quality journals and publications on those journals to make sense of professors' performance. The shift towards more research- based performance evaluation is seen to have important consequences on the professional lives of professors and also on a more general level to the production of knowledge. A majority of studies on faculty response to productivity measurement describe a faculty experience of anxiety and self-questioning related to contradictions between their traditional professional identity and the new institutional demands. Previous research of academic professional identity often positions faculty as victims of chilly climates, departments with a lack support, and skewed reward systems. Previous research commonly paints a picture where an overloaded plate and lack of ability to manage it is a dominant feature of academic work life. The study is conducted as a single case study, with 10 approximately one hour long interviews conducted with Aalto University School of business professors as a primary source of data. The single case study method enabled an in depth view of the complex and situational phenomenon of professional identity in relation to accounting practices. The findings of this study conclude that the identity of scholars in Aalto University School of Business seem to be shifting towards a more international, competitive, "American model" -based paradigm, where global rankings and research evaluation as a form of performance measurement receives growing amounts of attention. Additionally, the findings imply that within these changes, scholars in Aalto University School of Business seem to be voicing some disengagement from the values of their home organization. As a third central finding, it seems that professors in the case organization feel they are being constantly asked to overall perform more, without adequate rewards or recognition for that increasing amount of workload in their compensation schemes, or in the public image of the professorate.
performance measurement, academic professional identity, research evaluation
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